SAWT BEIRUT INTERNATIONAL

| 24 June 2021, Thursday |

Russia denies any link to cyberattack on US fuel pipeline

Russia has denied involvement in a cyberattack that led to the shutdown of the biggest US fuel pipeline operated by the Colonial Pipeline Company.

“Russia has nothing to do with this,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS after US President Joe Biden claimed that Russia bears “some responsibility” for the attack.

Answering a question on whether Moscow was ready to interact with Washington on the case, Peskov stressed that “the US refuses to cooperate in battling cybercrime.”

On Monday, Biden stated that the cyberattack was not the work of Russia, but then said that Moscow bore “some responsibility” for the attack.

“So far there’s no evidence from our intelligence people that Russia is involved,” Biden told reporters. However, he added that the ransomware used “is in Russia,” and Moscow therefore has “some responsibility to deal with this.”

His remarks came as several US media outlets blamed the ransomware attack on a cyber-criminal gang dubbed “DarkSide” with alleged links to Russia.

On Thursday, hackers breached the network of Colonial Pipeline, and stole nearly 100GB of data in two hours, Bloomberg cited sources involved in the company’s investigation as saying.

The company then apparently “threatened” that the information – which was also encrypted and held hostage in locked computers inside its network – would be leaked on the internet unless the undisclosed ransom is paid.

CNN cited an unnamed “former senior cyber official” as saying that the group “originated from Russia” and “typically targets non-Russian-speaking countries.”

The ransomware attack forced the company to shut down a gasoline and diesel pipeline, which spans more than 5,500 miles and transports about 45% of all fuel consumed on the US East Coast, on Friday.